§ (Sir John Lubbock, Mr. Dalrymple, Sir Charles Forster, Mr. Houldsworth, Mr. Reid, Sir Albert Rollit, Mr. Salt.)
§ COMMITTEE. [Progress 28th March.]
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)
I am not in favour of taking vengeance upon this Bill because we cannot get its provisions extended to Ireland; but I do think we are entitled to ask the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock) to obtain some guarantee from the President of the Local Government Board that, when the Bill is passed, the Government will consent to a similar measure for Ireland. Considering the great interest taken in this Bill, I should deplore obstruction to the arrangement which has been arrived at; but, before we consent to further progress being made, I think we are entitled to know what is the view of the Government on this matter. I should like to know whether, if we allow the remaining clauses of the Bill to be taken, a favourable consideration will be given to our request that a similar Bill shall be introduced for Ireland, a proposal which has already the support 183 of all persons of importance in Dublin, both Catholic and Protestant.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. RITCHIE) (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)
I must point out to the hon. and learned Member for Longford that this Bill is not a Government measure. If it were, it would be the duty of the Government to consider whether or not it should be a Bill to apply to Ireland. It is a Bill brought in by a private Member; but the proposal to extend the Act of 1881 seems to Her Majesty's Government so reasonable that they do not consider it to be their duty to oppose it; but, on the contrary, that it should have their acceptance. The hon. and learned Member for Longford asks if the Government will extend the provisions of the Bill to Ireland? I can only say that if the condition of things in Ireland is similar to the condition of things in England, with which this Bill deals, for my part I see no reason why the same powers as those proposed to be given to Local Authorities here should not be given to Local Authorities in Ireland; and if a Bill for the purpose is promoted by any hon. Gentleman in this House under similar circumstances, so far as I know, there is no reason why it should not become law. The hon. and learned Member is aware that the clauses of the Bill have been agreed to, and that there only remains the Preamble to be considered. I hope, therefore, the hon. and learned Member will see that because it does not apply to Ireland is no reason why it should not be allowed to go through Committee.
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK (London University)
I should certainly be most happy that the provisions of the Bill should be extended to Ireland, and I should, therefore, have been glad to meet the wishes of the hon. and learned Member for North Longford (Mr. T. M. Healy); but, seeing that the Title and Preamble of the Bill alone remain to be considered, as has been pointed out by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board (Mr. Ritchie), it would be impossible, as I understand, to apply it at the moment to Ireland. I believe, however, that this might be done on Report, and if the hon. and learned Gentleman and his Friends would like three or four days in order to consider a clause to be 184 proposed on Report, I am willing, if they will allow the Bill now to proceed, to postpone that stage for the purpose.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
I would suggest that we allow the Bill to proceed to the extent of dealing with the Amendments, and that the question should be raised on the Motion that the Bill be reported to the House.
§ On the Motion of Mr. HOULDSAWORTH, the following Amendments made:—In Preamble, line 1, leave out "Act," and insert "Acts;" after "Acts," insert "1887 and; "and in line 2, leave out "Act," and insert "Acts."
§ On the Motion of Mr. RITCHIE, the following Amendments made:—In Proamble, line 5, leave out "similar;" line 6, leave out "Urban;" and in line 8, after "aforesaid," insert "and also to amend 'The Metropolitan Open Spaces Act, 1881,' and 'The Disused Burial Ground Act, 1884.'"
§ Preamble, as amended, agreed to.
§ On the Motion of Mr. RITCHIE, the following Amendment made:—In Title, leave out "Act," and insert "Acts 1887 and;" and leave out "Urban."
§ Title, as amended, agreed to.
§ MR. MAURICE HEALY (Cork)
I think that before the Bill is reported to the House we are entitled to a more definite statement from the President of the Local Government Board (Mr. Ritchie) as to whether the Government will extend its provisions to Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman has said that if the condition of things in Ireland is similar to the condition of things in England, he could see no reason why the same powers as those here given to Local Authorities in England and Wales should not be likewise given to Local Authorities in Ireland. We have in Ireland the same sanitary machinery as in England, and, as has been pointed out, all parties in Ireland are in favour of this proposal. I cannot, therefore, see that there is the smallest difficulty in the way of the Government making the provisions of the Bill of the hon. Baronet apply to Ireland. For this reason I ask the right hon. Gentleman to give us some more definite information on this matter than we have yet received. I appeal to the 185 Government to undertake to consider the position of Ireland with regard to our proposal, and to say that, if they find the facts to be as they have been stated, they will offer no objection to this Bill being amended on Report in the sense in which we desire that it should be amended, so that the same law which has been found to be most proper and beneficial shall be extended in Ireland as well as in England and Wales.
§ MR. RITCHIE
This Bill is not within the Department of the Local Government Board, although, because to some extent it affects Local Authorities, I have taken some part in the matter. I can do no more than promise that I will bring the subject under the notice of my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour).
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON (Dublin, Harbour)
The Bill which the hon. Baronet has brought forward had its origin in a meeting held in Dublin for the purpose of relieving the distress which prevailed in the city. That meeting was attended by the Archbishop and the principal Conservatives in Dublin, and one of the greatest difficulties which presented itself in the way of relieving distress was that of obtaining authority to deal with open spaces in Dublin. If the Chief Secretary for Ireland will confer with his political supporters in the City of Dublin, he will find that there is a general desire amongst Conservatives there for an extension of this Bill to Ireland, and which is in no way affected by the blocking process resorted to by Gentlemen who know very little of the circumstances.
§ DR. J. E. KENNY (Cork, S.)
I venture to add my appeal to that of my hon. Friend's. I think it does not speak loudly of the benevolence of the spirit in which the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Thanet (Colonel King-Harman) treats his countrymen that he should have put down a blocking Notice. It is perfectly true that the present Bill arises altogether out of the meeting which my hon. Friend has referred to as having been held for the purpose of relieving distress in Dublin; and I, therefore, trust that the Government will bring pressure to bear on their supporters to get the Bill extended to Ireland.
§ Question put, and agreed to,186
§ Bill reported, with an amended Title; as amended, to be considered upon Wednesday next, and to be printed. [Bill 214.]